First and foremost I want to thank my family: Joyce for her medical knowledge and training which so helped the rest of the family, for her daily visits to the ICU, and for dealing with my three suicide attempts with equanimity; Tafline and Matt for their visits to me in the hospital, for their moral support and for their unconditional love; my nuclear family for the awesome birthday party on the hill; and finally, my parents, Ed and Ruth for the many hospital visits.

Many of the health professionals I contacted did not want to be specificly named in this memoir. Here is my work around that I believe spares their privacy. For all the specialists, doctors, and nurses of Alberta Health Services who so carefully and exactingly cared for me. Specifically: Dr. Jacques for being very, very careful; Dr. Rohan for your meticulous surgical supervision; Dr. Mantak for the artful stitching; Dr. Richard for waiting; Dr. Shelagh for your assiduous follow-up; Dr. Christine for your case management; Dr. Susan for your oversight; Andrea for your humour; Kenny for challenging and inspiring me; Monique for the typing exercises; Zoe for being my muse; Oorst and Marilyn, fellow patients, for your companionship; Florence for the referral to CET; Martha and Meghin and the other nurses of Trauma 71 for your superalitive care; Nancy for reintegrating me into the world; Koreen for the supportive chats; Adeline for the gait assessment; Susan for the role playing; Carolina for your sunny ways; Alana for cancelling my driver’s license; Brandi for reintroducing me to the power of recreation; Michelle for the poems and your thesis; Kelly for your Newfie unflappibility; xxx for the exercises; Dr. Martin for not prescribing drugs.

I am especially grateful to Mike and Susan Hare for their support and friendship, their visits, and the work at the Owl’s Nest book store that so exercised, stretched, and stimulated my brain

I am grateful to my hospital visitors: Bart Grover, for the laughs and for your continued friendship; Julie Gibson, for the thoughtful support, the hospital visit, and for being you; Antoinette Douville-Mackie for your friendship over the decades and for your unflappibility; Rod Lachmuth, for the poster, your incredible art, and for the provocation; and Anne Jayne for the CDs of the lectures about fellow poet Walt Whitman.

It takes a village to birth and nurture a book to publication. I want to thank the folks who directly and indirectly supported the creation of this book: Trish Cupra for the cover art and ongoing support of my various blogs and all the writers who have inspired me over the years, in particular Lee Child, John Sanford, Johnathan Kellerman, Diana Gabaldon, Vivi Anna, and James Michener.

I’d like to thank the Secret Santa who gifted me with Sarah Brightman’s “Diva” and Susan Hare for Enya’s “Amarantine”, two CD’s that served as my muse as well as the music on and

Any errors, omissions, and untruths contained in this book are my responsibility alone.

Excerpt from CRASH! Memories of a Healing Journey, Lyle T. Lachmuth, All Rights Reserved


EMS to the Rescue Too

Chuck was keen to treat the patient but the fire crew couldn’t get the patient out of the car because his legs were trapped under the front seat. The fire crew pryed open the driver’s door with the Jaws of Life and within minutes the driver was strapped to a spinal board and bundled into the ambulance.

Stuart backed away from the scene and carefully manoeuvred into a northbound lane of Crowchild, turned the lights and siren on, and accelerated to eighty kilometres. Chuck thought that it was fortunate for their passenger that they had a fairly direct route to the Foothills.

Chuck began an examination of the driver of the car starting with pulse, breathing, and obvious injuries. She documented the patient’s name and status. In summary, the patient had suffered trauma to the head and neck, extremity, chest, abdominal trauma and had an altered mental status. She then documented a summary of the conditions of the vehicle when they first encountered it. The fact that the vehicle had a head on collision with a concrete structure on a highway. That the speed of the vehicle was unknown at the time of the collision. She documented the significant damage to the front of the car; the fact that the patient was wearing a seat belt; there was no obvious deformity to the steering wheel; and, no airbag was deployed. Maybe Chuck did not realize it or she maybe she was simply answering questions thoroughly but the 1992 Oldsmobile is not equipped with airbags.

Chuck turned her attention to her patient. She taped a gauze strip over the wound above the patient’s right eye. And, then applied a large gauze pad to the avulsion1 on his left chin.

Chuck noted that the patient was not responsive to verbal stimulus but was responsive to painful stimuli. The patient’s airway was open but he had increased respiration. The good news was both his lungs were clear and he had a rapid strong regular radial pulse. There was no visible deformity to the extremities. There was no grating sound when she pressed on his chest. The patient’s pelvis was also stable on paliptation.

Chuck took a moment from recording the patient’s history to do something she always did with unconscious patients. Chuck took the patient’s left hand in her two hands and began to rub it gently. Then she said what she always said in cases like this, “You’re going to get through this. You will be fine.” She rubbed his hand gently for a few seconds more and then got back to taking and recording his vitals.

1An avulsion is a tearing away of a body part accidently

Excerpt from CRASH! Memories of a Healing Journey, All Rights Reserved, Copyright Lyle T. Lachmuth